Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
Remarks of Prime Minister Fidel Castro

There are enclosed a copy and a free translation of an excerpt from an
address delivered on Wednesday, April 8, by Dr. Fidel Castro before the
representatives of the tobacco industry.  It will be noted that Dr. Castro
used the occasion to further his program of "Buy Cuban".  The American
cigarette importing firm to which he refers in his remarks is the principal
importer of American cigarettes and tobacco.  The firm is American-owned.
The full page advertisement to which Dr. Castro refers was enclosed with
the Embassy's Dispatch No. 1044 dated March 19, 1959 entitled "Buy Cuban"

It will be noted that in his remarks Dr. Castro refers to studies now
being undertaken by the Cuban Government with regard to the practicability
of raising wheat in Cuba in order to avoid having to import this
commodity.  Dr. Castro has also referred to similar studies concerning the
feasibility of raising apples, peaches and pears in this country.

For the Ambassador:

Leonard H. Price
Commercial Attache


1)   A copy of an excerpt from
an address delivered by
Dr. Fidel Castro.

2)   A free translation of the

(Free translation)


When we took over the government of the nation we found the nation
absolutely disorganized and in a precarious condition in all respects.  The
preoccupation of the Revolutionary Government is directed fundamentally to
the economy of the nation.  To overcome the economic crisis in which the
country was found the Revolutionary Government has two essential purposes:
the agrarian reform and the industrialization of the nation.

Among the industries that mainly require our attention and which is the
subject of our preoccupation is the tobacco industry.  Up to date sugar,
tobacco and coffee have been the three most important branches of our

We do not consider the tobacco industry to be an industry in crisis
but, to the contrary that it has a great outlook and a prosperous future
and will be greatly developed.  The suppression of contraband together with
the revolutionary conscience of the people in consuming Cuban products has
greatly benefitted the tobacco industry.  Cuban women are helping us
extraordinarily in the decision to consume Cuban products.

The proof of the enthusiastic acceptance of that decision is shown by
the fact that an American cigarette importing firm published a full page
advertisement in all the newspapers explaining the benefits to the national
economy of such imports, while the fact is that the Cuban industrialists
did not make any reply to that campaign.

On said page the concern tries to prove by data and statistics that the
consumption of foreign cigarettes represents considerable revenue for the
economy of the country.  But that page said nothing about smuggled
cigarettes which are those that are smoked here in a great majority.

Neither did that page say that through the suppression of smuggling the
Cuban cigarette industry was not to benefit but the firm that imported the
American cigarettes would benefit thereby.  Neither was it said on that
page that the trade balance of Cuba with the United States was very
unfavorable to Cuba in spite of the fact that this is a poor underdeveloped

What was said regarding the trade balance of Cuba with the United
States was mere sophistry by saying that the United States consumes more
Cuban tobacco than we consume American cigarettes.  Let it be said in
passing that it is not desired that this importing company be ruined by me,
but before it ruins us we would prefer to ruin it, should this be
necessary.  We have to defend Cuban things and if we do not do so, who is
going to do it?  What that importing company should do is industrialize
itself, create sources of production and of work in our country and it will
have the support of the Revolutionary Government.

The foreign brands of cigarettes are not going to have any future in
Cuba.  We all know that blonde cigarettes are being produced in Cuba that
have nothing to envy from any other.  Those who like to smoke blonde
tobacco will not have to make any sacrifice but merely decide to smoke the
Cuban blonde cigarettes.

With regard to anti-economic imports he said:

We plant tomatoes here, we send it up there and then they sell it back
to us converted into juice or paste.  We will produce everything possible
in Cuba.  We are even investigating and studying whether wheat can be grown
here, this being one of the products that meets with the greatest obstacles
here.  If in Cuba we produce everything that it is possible to produce of
those things that we now import, we will provide work for more than 300,000
persons; 300,000 Cuban families that are suffering want and misery.

Cuba will buy abroad what it needs to buy and what it wishes to buy not
what they want to sell us at all events.  Cuba is a country full of brush,
grassy plains and marabu plants that we are going to plant and put in
production.  We will buy tractors, machinery and machine tools for our
industrialization from abroad.  We must buy factories in order not to be an
underdeveloped country.

Our previous rulers never were preoccupied over Cuba, that is the
truth.  They did not only not want to obtain foreign exchange but took it
abroad investing outside the country what they had stolen from the people
and the national economy, thus doing the country a double wrong.  You can
estimate what they took away by what they left behind.  More than fifteen
million dollars have been found, in cash alone, without mentioning stocks
and recovered properties.  The fifteen million dollars represented the
small cash they counted on.  In December 1958 alone they took eighty
million dollars abroad with them.  It is estimated that they have taken
abroad $300,000,000, without mentioning the millions they took away in
Cuban pesos.

It is a good thing to exhort the employees and pilots of aviation and
steamship companies to be on the double lookout for those traitors who try
to bring into Cuba the monies which the war criminals stole and which they
are selling for forty five cents to the peso.  And I say traitors because
they cannot be called anything else, they, the mercenaries who serve as
exchange agents for the war criminals.  Then they protest against the
executions by firing squads.  what do those people deserve?  What do those
who exchange the money deserve?

Those patriots that are in the United States and are so well off.  By
the way they are most excited over my trip and are preparing campaigns.
They who ran away while they had tanks, aircraft and bombs are now
organizing picket lines to be used when we get there.  They have even gone
so far as to start a campaign against the consumption of Cuban products.
Cuban products are going to continue to be consumed because they are very
good.  Whoever wants to eat a good mango or a good mamee or Cuban sugar
that is so sweet, is not going to pay any attention to any such campaign.

They want to return here to go on doing all kinds of chicanery as they
did before.  But the Cuban people are not foolish and cannot be fooled.  An
honest government, one that does not engage in deals, which gives equal
opportunities to everyone who has industrial plans, in which it is not
necessary to be a friend of the authorities to obtain credits to establish
industries, cannot ruin the country.  If there is something that might ruin
the country it is what was done in the past:  theft in all orders.  I do
not know what those people are thinking of; that Cuba is going to allow
itself to be again the victim of the unbridled ambition of those people?

Difficulties?  Yes, we have them because we must do some surgery on
the country and surgical operations temporarily paralyze the function of
the organism, but they are beneficial in the long run.  The Revolution is
saving the economic life of the country.

To smoke has been called a vice, let us call it a habit.  To smoke is a
permissible stimulant that lets one think and have good digestion.  Besides
tobacco is a Cuban product and we must defend and consume it.  The problems
of the industry must be considered, we must consider the increase in sales
and the possibility of new markets for tobacco because we are going to
increase the sales of tobacco abroad considerably because Cuban tobacco
cannot be compared with any other tobacco in the whole world.  We are even
going to sell blonde tobacco abroad.

What we propose to with all the sectors of the economy is to carry on a
long term policy and extraordinary projections for all industries, to make
general plans for developing industry.  This is the time for all of us to
make a joint effort, and not divided.  With the shoe industry we are doing
the same as we have done here, that is, have all the sectors meet and seek
satisfactory and fair solutions for all the problems.

We need the exchange from the tobacco in order to carry forward the
Agrarian Reform and the industrialization of the country, in order to be
able to buy tractors, machinery, factories.  Because there is no
political independence if there is no economic independence.  We believe
that an effort like this one deserves the collaboration of everyone.  The
first improvements that should be sought from this forum should tend to
benefit the sectors that are worse off.  From this meeting, if there is
good will, all the problems of the tobacco sector should be solved and its
future policy outlined.

A propaganda campaign in favor of our tobacco abroad should be studied;
the appointment of commercial attaches in all the Embassies to develop the
sales of our tobacco abroad.  We must seek formulas to benefit the small
planters who hardly have land to plant.  We should reach the solution of
all these problems without taking anything away from anyone, without
harming but by helping those that are most wanting.  This would be to the
benefit of all the industrial sectors of the country because all the
industries need the improvement of the other sectors in order that their
capacity of consumption may augment.

We must find the proper policy in regard to tobacco.  These discussions
must be carried on in harmony among good Cubans with absolute respect for
all opinions.  This is a sort of a public hearing.

Not only do we have our ministers working intensely but also our
commandants.  Here we have with us Camilo Cinefuegos and Ernesto Guevara.
A few days ago I asked Commandant Guevara to study the problems that affect
the tobacco industry.  He, together with some of our ministers and with
your cooperation will endeavor to seek fair solutions to those problems.  I
will not be able to attend the other working sessions of this forum because
I am very busy studying the statistics and reports regarding our economy in
order to be well documented for my coming trip to the United States where I
will try to defend our sugar quota and obtain for Cuba all the benefits
that may be possible.  On the other hand the enemies of the Revolution and
of Cuba are trying to obstruct our mission.  You will soon learn about the
banana skins that await me abroad.

Referring to the elections he said that a campaign should be waged
against the old electoral methods so that the counterrevolutionary elements
will not start their tactics in an intent to hold back the Revolution.  "We
must watch words carefully.  Elections; no.  Clean and honest elections:
yes.  We are the first in favor of elections and of submitting matters to
the popular verdicts, even though the Revolution is the product of the
popular will.  When the people hoot at elections and say:  no elections,
they are not hooting against democracy.  Let this be understood.  We are
the first to be in favor of elections.  If we were not so or wished to
remain in the government we would ask the people how long they want the
Revolutionary Government to be in power and I am sure that the people would
say at least ten years.

He then said that he was not interested in power, saying:  "Power is a
very heavy cross,it is a very bitter cross, it is a very hard cross."